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Cubans get Hollywood, football fix through 'paquete'

Black market sales of USB sticks loaded with Hollywood blockbusters, pop music or football are booming in communist Cuba, where content-starved consumers are snapping them up to escape the dreary offerings of state-run media. Hungry for the Internet and barred from access to satellite television, Cubans have regularly swapped entertainment stored on USB sticks or computer hard drives. The practice has now evolved to a sophisticated new level, however, with the rise of what is known locally as the "paquete."

French foreign minister makes 1st trip to Cuba in 30 years as Europe explores new ties

HAVANA - A French foreign minister visited Cuba for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday, travelling to the communist-run nation at a time when it is seeking to attract more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he met with President Raul Castro for an hour and half, during which the two men "talked about everything, including human rights."

French foreign minister on historic visit to Cuba

By Marc Frank HAVANA (Reuters) - France's foreign minister arrived in Cuba on Saturday for a brief but historic visit, the first by such a high-ranking French official in 31 years and a sign of the quickening pace of improving ties between the European Union and Havana. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez upon arrival, and was scheduled to meet with Cardinal Jaime Ortega and then French businessmen. Rodriguez met with Laurent in Paris last month.

Cuba says U.S. hunger striker's treatment in prison 'dignified'

By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - A U.S. contractor who has launched a hunger strike while serving a long prison term in Cuba is receiving "dignified and decent treatment" in a hospital ward where he is in stable health, a Cuban official said on Wednesday. Cuba's communist government said it was concerned by a statement from Alan Gross's lawyer on Tuesday that said his client had begun a hunger strike last week to protest his treatment by both the Cuban and U.S. governments.

U.S. contractor jailed in Cuba goes on hunger strike

By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - The U.S. contractor sentenced to a 15-year prison term in Cuba for attempting to establish an illegal Internet service has gone on a hunger strike to protest his treatment by the Cuban and U.S. governments, his lawyer said on Tuesday. The lawyer also criticized the United States for putting Alan Gross's life in further jeopardy by launching a secretive "Cuban Twitter" after his arrest in 2009.

U.S. contractor jailed in Cuba goes on hunger strike

By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - The U.S. contractor sentenced to a 15-year prison term in Cuba for attempting to establish an illegal Internet service has gone on a hunger strike to protest his treatment by the Cuban and U.S. governments, his lawyer said on Tuesday. The lawyer also criticized the United States for putting Alan Gross's life in further jeopardy by launching a secretive "Cuban Twitter" after his arrest in 2009.

Study: Number of US travellers to Cuba continues to rise, second only to Canada

MIAMI - The number of U.S. visitors to Cuba continues to rise, even as the more than five-decade long embargo remains firmly in place, according to study released Monday. Within the first three months of 2014 alone, there were more U.S. tourists to the island than in all of 2013 from England, Germany or France, according to a report by the U.S.-based Havana Consulting Group provided to The Associated Press. Canada remains the No. 1 country of origin for travellers to Cuba, but the number of U.S. travellers to the island has been steadily increasing over the last seven years.

Study: Number of US travellers to Cuba continues to rise, second only to Canada

MIAMI - The number of U.S. visitors to Cuba continues to rise, even as the more than five-decade long embargo remains firmly in place, according to study released Monday. Within the first three months of 2014 alone, there were more U.S. tourists to the island than in all of 2013 from England, Germany or France, according to a report by the U.S.-based Havana Consulting Group provided to The Associated Press. Canada remains the No. 1 country of origin for travellers to Cuba, but the number of U.S. travellers to the island has been steadily increasing over the last seven years.

ZunZuneo: the new sound of US-Cuban discord

ZunZuneo, a Twitter-style application designed to get Cubans talking among themselves on their cell phones, has become the latest obstacle to improved relations between Washington and Havana. Experts in the United States say the failed project, active between 2009 and 2012, should raise serious questions about US policies towards the communist-run Caribbean island. The US Agency for International Development has (USAID) admitted to building the application so that Cubans, who face strict curbs on expression, could "talk freely among themselves."

U.S. project for "Cuban Twitter" sparks Havana's ire

Havana, Apr 4 (EFE).- The Raul Castro government demanded Friday that the United States call off its "illegal and covert" actions against Cuba, in an official reaction to news that the U.S. Agency for International Development sought to create a Twitter-like social network on the Communist island. "This shows once again that the United States government has not given up its subversive plans against Cuba, that it is determined to create destabilizing situations to wreak changes in our political order," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
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